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Patrice Bäumel on Afterlife opening at Privilege

The biggest nightclub in the world welcomes Afterlife and we sit down with Patrice Bäumel.

Afterlife spiked my curiosity last year when I heard a track on the second release of the label:
Vaal's Wander to Hell (Locked Groove Remix). It was this track that became one of the most sought after tracks of summer 2016 amongst techno fans. I loved the raw heavy nature of the production, different to anything I had heard before. I was instantly hooked. I listened and downloaded the Realm Of Consciousness compilation and delved into the odyssey that is the Afterlife label.

Fast forward to 2017 and I'm on route to Privilege, the biggest club in the world, where Tale Of Us have moved Afterlife now that Space has closed its doors. I have only ever seen Privilege from the highway so was thrilled to finally spend an evening in the legendary venue.

I entered through the famous dome area and made my way down to the Terrace (Vista Club) to see Patrice Bäumel playing the latter half of his set. He smiled at the crowd as he played a remix of Karma by Ramon Tapia, reaching out to shake the hand of a guest smiling back in appreciation of a well played set. Patrice then welcomed Kristian Beyer, one half of Âme, stepping onto the stage.

I then had a chance to have a chat with Patrice. I followed him out of the Terrace and down some stairs. Going through a set of metal doors opened by a guard, we entered a backroom where the Afterlife staff were relaxing away from the party. The bunker like room was littered with vintage sofas and lamps.

With the sound of bass rattling through the ceiling from the rave happening above us, Patrice and I began our interview...

You've just finished the opening set of afterlife at Privilege. How does it feel to open for the label night you're now signed to?

For me opening in general feels very natural. I've done that many years in many clubs. For Afterlife, first of all it feels really special to come into a venue that is brand new to me, that looks really exotic and really different to any other venue in ibiza. Also it feels like a family get-together. All the staff of Afterlife are here with all the artists. It almost feels like a private party. It's very much a family thing.

What was your first experience of Afterlife?

The first Afterlife party I ever went to was in Tulum this year, and I played there as well. The one where I've been there just as a guest was Sonar festival this year also. But it is my first time playing and attending Afterlife in Ibiza.

So what are your plans for after the gig tonight, are you going to spend some down time in Ibiza?

Not a lot actually. I have to fly back tomorrow afternoon. Family life is waiting for me and other gigs are coming up. I try to always arrive as late as possible and leave as early as possible, to really treat it like a job and not like a holiday at all. I have spent sometime on the island in the past though, usually just a day at a time. However one time I was playing for Mosaic, Maceo Plex's party at Pacha and that got a little bit out of hand: I missed a couple of planes and left two days later.

That occasion for me was a changing moment, where I felt like if I want to do this as work I need change my life around. I needed to stop partying. So I really cleaned up my act, stopped doing drugs, stopped drinking alcohol and just focused on the music. Since that point I've had the most creative and productive period of my life.

Glutes is fast becoming a summer anthem in Ibiza this year, being played by Sven Väth and many others, did you ever expect it to become as big as it has?

I always road test the material extensively before I release anything so already had an idea that it was going to work well and sound good on a big system. With Glutes it felt really good from the start. We originally thought to put it on one of the Afterlife compilations. But then Matteo from Tale Of Us thought it would be much better to turn it into a single. I think it was a good move because it gave the track that little extra push. It's doing better than I could have dreamt though, so I feel super happy about the release.

Now that you can relax for the evening, who's set are looking forward to?

I really just want to see everybody. I want to go to the small room to see Antigone, and I want to watch a bit of Amandra. I've seen Tale Of Us and Âme before, but I want to see how they play Privilege and just feel the room in general. At the end of the night you want to get together and have a whole picture of how the night went, so you can discuss on how it can be improved. But for me the best and only place you should be at Afterlife is on the dance floor.

With a busy touring schedule ahead of you over this summer season including multiple festivals, is there one particular gig you're looking forward to in particular?

I really take it one by one. I stopped thinking about the gigs I have ahead of me throughout the year. Now I am only interested in the next one. If you ask me where I'm going to play in two weeks, I wouldn't be able to tell you! To me every gig is equally important, every person on the dance floor is super important. If I end up playing in a small venue in the middle of nowhere, playing to five people, that to me is just as important as playing Berghain. In my job I'm serving the people and I have a responsibility to serve them well. The people have to happy.

People don't care where I play next or which gig I've enjoyed the most. People only care that I give my very best in that very moment when they're on the dance floor with me. I want to treat everyone equally. I've also noticed that you win fans one by one. Every time you give a little bit of extra attention, take the time if someone asks for a picture or give a handshake or simply just smile, it makes a massive difference. For me DJing is all about connection and music is just a medium to make that connection with your audience. That connection is the most important thing, and the music is just the language to communicate that connection.

In your online biography you describe your productions and DJ sets as being “techno music for grown ups.” What do you mean by this?

I want to make music that is interesting to people who have been listening to techno all their lives. I want to find a happy medium of being fun and accessible on one side while on the other side always coming in with a fresh angle, something that isn't being played everywhere else and that hasn't been heard a million times before. I don't want to be an old school DJ, who just sticks to the rules and keeps doing the same thing. Yeah, this style can be valuable but for me I always want to have something adventurous in my sound. Techno music for grown ups means that it's challenging, even for someone who is deep into the genre subject matter.

For me Afterlife gives me a platform to dive into a different side of music and play some crazier, darker, harder techno

In the past you've released with Kompakt, Crosstown Rebels and Cubicolor. Was your experience different with those labels to Afterlife?

I feel very much part of a family with Afterlife. It's the same with Kompakt, but the culture of the label is different. Kompakt is extremely music-focused and Afterlife is very conceptual. With Afterlife, they are always looking for an angle to go beyond music, so it's more experience-focused. Also with their sound, they are very different than any other label in the industry.

For me Afterlife gives me a platform to dive into a different side of music and play some crazier, darker, harder techno. Kompakt is maybe a little bit more subtle and melodic. So to me, those two labels are perfect home bases where I can release music through two completely different channels. Both labels are really in demand; they don't have a lot of slots per year for every artist who releases music. So twice the labels, twice the output!

What has been your favourite track and most played song of this month?

I really like the new Emerson, Digweed & Muir track called Tracer and the Ruede Hagelstein remix. Really cool deep psychedelic techno is definitely one of my favourites. In terms of a set, many people think that I play Glutes often, but I didn't play it this evening. If I can get away with not playing my big hits, I don't often play them. But if someone requests something, I'll try and accommodate it of course. If i'm playing a warm up set, I won't play Glutes or Surge. I play to the context that's fitting, so tonight I went more subtle and deeper in my track selection. The track I play the most recently is a collaboration I've got with Audiofly, currently unreleased, which is coming out on Crosstown rebels this Autumn.

After our chat, I followed Patrice back up the staircase into the Terrace. I shook hands with him one final time, then watched him disappear into the fog covered crowd and onto the dance floor.

Âme was controlling the crowd well, building their excitement with overlapping melodies and thundering kicks from the Terrace sound system. The room was packed from front to back now and the DJ stage full of glamorous guests.

I navigated my way around to find best viewpoint to watch Âme continue to rule over the crowd with mysterious sounds - I say this as most of the tracks I was unable to Shazam! At this point, a famous face steps on stage. Solomun watched Âme finish his set and met with applause from the crowd.

As Solomun and Âme chat, they seem like old friends retelling stories of past parties. Meanwhile, Tale Of Us began their set. After about half an hour of rolling hypnotic tracks like Dystopian by Jose Ayen, I took a little walk around the venue.

I think what I love about Privilege is that because of its size it has so many little areas you can enjoy aside from the main dancefloor. Either in the plush outside gardens or the side stage areas, there's opportunity for exploration with music around every corner, a clubber's paradise.

As I re-entered the Terrace once again, Tale Of Us played a set befitting of their Afterlife mantra: an odyssey through the realm of consciousness. They brought mostly unreleased tracks, all especially selected by the DJ duo for their headlining set. The crowd swayed as the red neon light shone down illuminating them and the deep beat of Cleon by Human Machine played.

I looked up to see the Afterlife logo suspended over the crowd. The diving figure was lit up by the club's lighting, shining like a monument to the Afterlife attendees below.

At about 4.00, Tale Of Us played one of my favourite tracks of the event, Paradise Lost by Reset Robot. The uplifting synth line was glorious to listen to as it ascended up over the crowd into the ceiling of the Terrace. The crowd was in a trance, absorbing the energy of the music and the atmosphere, everyone glowing with euphoric joy.

With the night drawing to its last couple of hours, I headed over to the Chamber to catch Antigone play. Here I found my two Spotlight colleagues, Aimee and Ruby stomping along happily to the raw heavy techno beats. The young Parisian DJ seemed really at home in this more underground part of the event.

Most of the crowd were in the Terrace at this point, so the Chamber was attended by die hard techno fans who were committed to seeing the night through until the break of dawn. I left the venue as the sun began to rise, revealing the beautiful features of the Ibiza landscape in the background.

With Afterlife having such a successful opening, we are all excited to see what the rest of the season will hold for this otherworldly event at Privilege.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Michael Tomlinson

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